The Frederick

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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

The Frederick

Post by ALANM » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:43 pm

In 1834 ten convicts stole the incomplete Brig ’The Frederick’ from the shipyard on Sarah Isle
in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s West Coast.They sailed the ship south of New Zealand
to Chile.My story is an imagined lament of an un-named member of that convict crew.

For seven years I was transported, ‘cross the ocean to Van Diemans land.
please show me mercy I exhorted, still they condemned me out of hand.
My lovin’ family left far behind me, their faces I’d see them, nevermore.
chained below deck I could not see, my dear homelands fading shore.

Months at sea in filth and squalor, before we landed in Van Diemans land.
fast bound in slavery to a settler, yoked in chains, to plough his land.
always half starved, wet straw for bedding, he used the lash to keep us in hand.
The howls of Tigers kept us from sleeping, there in cursed, Van Diemans land.

When the forties howl thru’ the rigging, I dream of home and family,
as the years pass they’ll be forgetting, just a ghost, in their memory.

Once I slipped chains and absconded, along with others, I roamed the land.
we stole to eat lads from the landed, outlaws we was, a bushranger band.
But we was captured by them cruel traps, some was hanged on the gallows tree.
I was sentenced ‘round through Hells Gates, set on Sarah Island, no longer free.

Spared no pity by our keepers, we were just scum, they did revile.
cut down Huon Pine by the rivers, float them logs back, to Sarah Isle.
In the shipyard on Sarah Island, they built a fine brig, the Frederick.
in the last days of Sarah Island, we made a bold plan, to seize the ship.

As the forties howl ‘cross the yardarm,we’ll set sail lads, out on the sea,
in this fine ship we’ll sail to freedom, when we step ashore over in Chile.

In January, of eighteen thirty four, before the last work was well in hand.
ten bold convicts rose up and seized her, set out thru’ Hells Gates, to a far off land.
Many long weeks out on the ocean, then we arrived off, Bueno River Bar.
open seacocks sent the Frederick down, we rowed the long boat, to Valdivia.

Our claim of shipwreck was not contested, six men sailed, on four remained in town.
free for two years then re-arrested, sent first to London, then to Hobart town.
The charge of piracy could not be proven, we was convicted, of robbery.
once more in chains, sailed across the ocean, set on Norfolk Island, never to be free.

When the forties howl and it’s freezing,it takes me back there, stark memories,
of the flogging and the starving, of broken spirits and broken dreams.

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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland

Re: The Frederick

Post by Shelley » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:33 pm

I remember hearing this story when we visited Sarah Island some years ago, Alan.

One can only imagine the horrors that they endured on that ill-fated bid for freedom. Like you, I enjoy bringing our historical stories to life in verse.
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: The Frederick

Post by ALANM » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:41 pm

Thanks Shelley,
The courage,determination and desperation of those convicts has to be admired
regardless of what they may have been imprisoned there for.
It would be interesting to know what befell the six who went on from Valdivia,
the four who were re-captured most likely died in chains and never left New Norfolk.
I'd like to know what happened to all of them.

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